The function of the mind in relevance to the world!
Sathya Sai on mind.
The mind is vital for perceiving the creation!
The world is inexplicable. Human life is mysterious. None can predict what will happen the next moment. With all these ‘imponderables’, man still wants to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of the senses. He knew intuitively that the body will grow old and perish. Yet he has a fancy for enjoyments of paltry pleasures. Every time, he enjoys a sense object, he undergoes only momentary exhilaration which fades within minutes. This sense satisfaction is applicable to all the sensual pleasures. This kind of ignorance or illusion is termed as “Maya’ in the scriptures. The Maya is associated with the mind, since the mind alone enjoys the pleasures and pains of the body! Bereft of the mind, none can perceive the creation or feelings that emanate due to the interaction with the mind. Mind is like the monitor screen of the computer which displays the output of our queries.
In a computer environment, the purpose of the monitor is vital. All computer applications are available as icons on the desktop and we can activate any application through that. Imagine a situation where there is no display! There is no way for us to view the output or print them as the case may be. Smartphones, tablets and laptops have become famous since there is a screen embedded or connected to the applications or operating systems. In a similar manner, our mind is vital for existing on earth and leading life here! If the focus of the mind is diverted on something else, the mind cannot perceive anything through the sense organs.
The mind with reference to Advaita
When I am deeply engrossed in watching TV, my wife may call my attention to some other thing. But I am oblivious to her call which prompts her to shout at me, ‘are you deaf? I am calling you and you are unable to hear my call. This kind of experience is common nowadays. Why? The mind is focused on the program on TV. Though the ear is open, the mind is not connected to the sound from others. It is deeply engrossed in TV. This example clearly proves that mind must be connected or vigilant to the happenings around. Then only, it will hear the voices nearby! A funny story told to clarify this point. A student was not listening to what his teacher has said, and he was looking at a rat entering a hole in the roof! The teacher noticing the disruption of the student, asked him, “has everything entered? The boy was still looking at the rat and said, No Sir, the tail is still outside! The student’s mind was around the rat and he has not listened to his teacher, though the teacher was teaching in loud voice. Here, the mind was absent to teaching but interested in the rat.
The mind is the main connection to the individual with the world. Hence in mental hospitals, we find many patients always telling something or laughing continuously or crying without any end. They are not oblivious to the hospital surroundings but they are living in their mental world. Dream is also the creation of mind wherein it creates a separate world which looks so real with all experiences undergone during waking state! We move out, interact with our friends and go to many places. We travel in train or bus, reach our places. Sometimes, we wake up out of fear while being chased by some wild animals. After waking up, we find that we are lying on the bed and we have not moved anywhere. Hence, the dream experience is a creation of the mind. When the mind is capable of creating a night dream, it is equally capable to create a day dream also, which we are familiar. But, our daydreams are different from the philosophy of Advaita. The non-dual philosophy asserts that the world is an illusion. But, it is not easy to comprehend.
Perform all work with god in the background
We can understand this by a simple example. Before creation, there was emptiness or nothing! Creation is in between scenario. It was not there in the beginning. It came in the middle and naturally, it will not be there after total annihilation. Which remains before creation, continue to remain even after annihilation. Wise people call it by many names. The scriptures talk about it as “Atma or Self”. Some people denote it as god! In whatever name, it is mentioned, it was ever existing and there is no ‘in’ or ‘out’ to it. Scientists aver that along with Big Bang, time, space and causation emanated. Hence, it is obvious that there is no time, space or causation before creation! Also, time space and causation are the perceptions of the mind! Also, time, space and causation are simultaneous entities. All the three exist simultaneously and they cannot be separated. Time is associated with movement and movement constitutes ‘space’. The theory of relativity explains the relationship. But there must be an ‘observer of time, space and causation. Without the observer, the theory is meaningless or absurd. The observer is none but the ‘mind’. It is ultimately the mind which perceives all this!
What happens during the death of the individual? When all physical functions come to knot, somehow the mind escapes along with the last breath. The last thought when the last breath escapes decides the future birth of the individual. If worldly thoughts prevail, the individual will get birth with attachments to the world. When he thinks about god in the last moment, he goes to the abode of god. But it is not as easy as we conceive. All our experiences, thoughts and habits culminate in the final thought. Hence, if the individual is focused on godly thought during his existence on earth, such thought will prevail during the final moments. Hence the sages exhort us to chant the name of god incessantly during our day time. If we are engaged in worldly duties, let those thoughts remain at the background. Mahatma Gandhi has said, “Dil me Ram; Hath me kam” – the meaning is that we should keep god in the heart and function in the world. Gandhi, during his final moments uttered Ram Ram Ram, when the assassin’s bullet pierced him in close range! His entire life was dedicated to public welfare while he was always in the habit of chanting Rama’s name!